The US semiconductor industry really started something when it demanded and won US government funds for the Sematech research consortium to help the industry to reduce the technology gap with Japan Inc, and we can now expect all sorts of special cases to crawl out the woodwork seeking similar funding. First off the blocks is a newly-formed Disk Drive Consortium, which brings together Maxtor Corp and the nine other leading independent disk drive manufacturers. Their case for demanding state aid for the maturing Winchester and emerging erasable optical disk drive markets is that the US has already been driven out of the floppy disk market by intense competition from the Far East, and while no-one is yet claiming that Winchesters are being dumped, price competition is intensifying. Once again, as with dynamic RAMs, the problem of the US industry is that it is predominantly made up of under $1,000m dollar stand-alone companies whereas the major players in Japan are the industry giants like NEC Corp, Toshiba Corp and Fujitsu Ltd. This time, though, IBM has tried to compete in the OEM market, not, so far, with very much success.